While chatting over breakfast, we had realized that Disney Princesses really do tend to have animal* companions. And I think we figured out why they use that trope…
A human companion would create too much competition for the movie’s primary relationship. Disney’s set up this idea that a princes has to be the fairest of them all, so we can’t have her hanging out with another woman. Can’t share her thoughts with the main male character either, nor introduce a male character who would compete with her Prince Charming.
But if a princess didn’t have a companion at all, she’d basically have to talk to herself to communicate with the audience. So, she talks to animals.
Well Disney, my girl has another idea for you:
They could have a princess who blogs. Think about it:
“Episode 98: Hello world! Today I was attacked by bad guys, again. But… I’m still surprisingly beautiful.”
*exceptions we could think of: Meridah WAS an animal, and Olaf was technically a snowman. Still, non-human. I can also think of a few movies where princesses travelled with humans, but tension over relationship competition was part of their plot. Can you think of any more?